As always, there was never a dull moment in the veteran’s concert. V. BALASUBRAMANIAN
The 67-year-‘young’ vidwan’s concert is always something to look forward to. Smiling and constantly encouraging his accompanists is yet another happy trait of his.
T.V.Sankaranarayanan’s recent concert was no different from what has been described above. Beginning in his usual style with a viruttam, he followed it up with Veenai Kuppier’s ‘Vinayaka Ninnu Vina’ (Hamsadhwani). The presentation would have shaken up those slouching in their seats. Someone whispered that Sankaranarayanan never sings a varnam in his concert. I brushed my memory and realised this was a fact.
The concert’s tempo continued with ‘Varadaraja Ninnukori’ (Tyagaraja-Swarabhushani-Rupakam). This song in praise of Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram with an inherent lilt was a good choice, for it is often not heard in concerts these days. Using his nabhi to the maximum extent, TVS then sketched a classic Poorvikalyani. He loaded it with blemish less akhara phrases .
T.K.V. Ramanujacharyalu (violin) did full justice to TVS’s efforts in his reply. ‘Parama Pavana’ (Poochchi Iyengar), again a rare gem, was impressive. His improvisations between pallavi, anupallavi and charanam on the arudhi phase of the mridangam were refreshing. His son Mahadevan Sankaranarayanan (vocal support) has a thick, reverberating voice. His uninhibited singing alongside his father gave the concert a duet effect. The niraval was well executed. Srimushnam Raja Rao playing with the centre of his palm at times as thavil vidwans do, was interesting.
Varamu, a penta-tone raga offered the veteran enough scope to pour out his feelings during the alapana. The brigas were perfect. TKV was more relaxed in his reply adding to the raga’s beauty. ‘Manasuloni Marmamunu’ was sung with precise word split, as often many performers sing it ‘Manasuloni Marmamulu’ with the elongated sanchara on ‘Mar’ which is grammatically incorrect. The swara segment saw this sishya of Madurai Mani Iyer unleash several sarva laghu and janta phrases that were pleasant on the ears. Raja Rao’s anticipations were striking.
Sankharabharanam, the evening’s main, was a vintage treat. It was paced differently probably with the kriti to follow in mind. A mixture of subtle nuances and gusty forays marked his effort. TKV proved a good foil. ‘Sarojadalanaethri’ (Syama Sastry-Adi) in madhyama kala was engaging.
Almost two hours into the concert, and yet there was no hint of tiredness evident in TVS. He was at ease in the higher octaves and hovered around the gandharam and touched the upper panchamam quite often during the swara segment - all with abundant confidence.
The thani saw Raja Rao in his elements in the company of Coimbatore Mohanram (ghatam).
An insatiate TVS produced beauties in the viruttams in Hamasanandhi and Brindavani to conclude.